Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shhhhh – if you’re really quiet while you’re looking at this picture, you can hear strains of “In the Mood” and the sound of dancing feet shuffling in the sawdust on the floor of the old hall.

This is a picture of the Bertha, Nebraska Dance Hall. It is located at almost the geographic center of Burt County Nebraska. Bertha is a tiny community consisting of the Dance Hall and two or three farm places. There used to be a schoolhouse about a mile north of the dance hall, but it’s all gone and the site is overgrown with weeds and cluttered with junk.
I don’t know how long the Dance Hall has been there, but I was doing some historical research and stumbled across an ad in a 1927 issue of the Burt County Herald that there was going to be a revival there with an internationally famous guest speaker who specialized in Prophecy.
Lawrence Welk and his band played at the Bertha Dance Hall many times. And it’s where my mom and dad first got together as a couple, through Dad’s cousin and Mom’s best friend: Tom Coneally and Marybelle Roscoe. Tom and Marybelle eventually married and remained close friends with my folks all their lives.
Myrna once told me she drank her first beer parked on the road outside the Dance Hall. Maybe she can elaborate on that experience.
While I was standing on the road taking this picture, one of the residents of one of the houses came out and got into her vehicle and left. She kept an eye on me, though and waited politely until it was obvious I was done taking the photo, before she drove into my line of sight. She gave us a friendly wave. I’m guessing this kind of thing happens to her a lot.

14 comments:

Brooke said...

I have a friend that has a farm in Bertha. Don't blink or you will miss the town.

Sue said...

Bertha also had a general store and "beer joint" just east of the dance hall.
Sue

LaDawn said...

This might be the dance hall where Joyce met George.

Dad - do you remember?

Stephanie said...

I think this is the Dance Hall. I remember her telling me it was in Burt County. Has to be the same one. Thanks, Janell!

Janell said...

You're welcome, Stephanie! I'm glad you liked seeing this picture. Maybe we can take a drive out there during the picnic in July.

Mary Connealy said...

Cool that Tom and Marybelle made your blog, Janell. Marybelle is the only person I know who sometime still slips and calls your mom Rachel Anderson.
LOL
I suppose that was Sheila Beckstrom waiting on that road. They own all of Bertha now and live in one of the remaining houses. They had their kids high school graduations in the hall, so I've been in it a few times..
Mary

Anonymous said...

Think there was a garage--or at least a mechanic there. Harry Ruhe?? Also the site of the informational / organizational meeting for the Burt County REA in the late thirties.

Anonymous said...

I live about 3 miles south of there, and I know very closely the family who lives in the blue house right to the left of the dance hall. I think it is cool that you posted about Bertha because, although famous in Burt County, no one really knows much about it or where it is.

Lee Bring said...

My grandfather (Oscar Bring) along with his brother (John Bring) owned and ran a general store, called Bring Brothers Stsore, in the building east of the dance hall from 1903-1910. My grandfather went to Craig to get supplies to resell and sometimes did that with his Indian motorcycle. Lee Bring

Anonymous said...

My grandparents, Clifford and Verna Anderson, did most of their dancing at Bertha. The Anderson farm was two miles south of the dance hall.

Leona Todd said...

My Daddy Audrey M Youell with my Mother use to go to this dance Hall. Daddy also played his violin with the Lawrence Welk band. This was in the late 1930's If any body knows anything more on this I would love to hear more.

Scott Sunderman said...

My Mom and Dad, Edna and Adolf Sunderman went to many dances at the Bertha Dance Hall in the 40's and 50's. They saw Lawrence Welk there. My sister Bonita Going told me that mom and dad would dance and she and my brothers would sleep upstairs on the wooden benchs. This was all before I came along but Bonita has very fond memories of Bertha,

Dave K said...

My mom and my aunts used to go here for dances many times. When I was a kid, my grandpa would take me to the store at Bertha and buy me a cold orange soda. Wow, such memories!

Unknown said...

My senior class had our senior skip day party here! It was quite a huge bash! My friend and I spent the the night in our sleeping bags on the stage! What a neat old building!